Port Authority officials are test-driving shuttle buses without any test drivers — they are automated.
The shuttles, from a New Zealand company called Ohmio, are being demoed at John F. Kennedy Airport's long-term parking lot. The shuttles move at a brisk 21 miles an hour and run about seven feet apart.
"We got three vehicles driving very quickly, at a very close proximity or a very close distance apart," said Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of Ohmio. "As I've said, that's something that's just not been done with this type of technology. This is an absolutely driverless vehicle."
"They're designed to fill that niche which we call the first mile, last mile in the transportation chain," Zabrieszach added.
This technology can be used to move people around places like theme parks, retirement communities or large airport parking lots.
"If we can have shuttles like these autonomous vehicles taking you from your vehicle closer to an AirTrain station, then you don't have to wait, you don't have to walk and you don't have to carry your bags quite as far," said Seth Wainer, program director of innovation at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
The chairman of Ohmio, Mohammed Hikmet, wants New York to be the proving ground for his company's technology.
"Here in New York, you need to do everything right, and it requires to have, really, it meets the demand of really high passenger capacity movement," Hikmet said.
Port Authority officials say they are going to use this technology, but will decide which airport and autonomous vehicle manufacturer in the next six months.
Port Authority officials say this will come in handy during the redevelopment of JFK Airport.